Nitara was sitting on the swing in the park. Her thoughts were swaying in her head along with her. She was restless as her questions were hanging unanswered. She got up and started taking a stroll. Her eyes found the old couple sitting on the bench. The old lady was making fun of her husband because he was combing his balding hairline. Their laughter set her lips into smiley curve. But she continued her round. When she came to the same spot again,the lady had peacefully rested her head on her husband’s shoulder. Both of them had their eyes closed. So tranquil, looking at them Nitara thought. And that picture-perfect moment of happy couple brought striking pain in her heart because she knew her mother was deprived of this happiness.
Nitara’s father had died when she was 7-years-old. It had been 10 years. Her mother was single parent playing both roles amazingly. She was proud of her mother for everything. She never hurt her and they both were inseparable best friends and support system for each other. Her mother’s best friend uncle Shailesh used to visit them often. Nitara liked him, he was witty, smart, intelligent and kind. She loved to have discussions with him. He was a great buddy and he used to tell all college pranks and fun, her mother had indulged into. She had seen him and known him since her childhood. She had built a special bond with him. But since one month, he neither visited nor called. She asked her mother multiple times about him but her mother gave evasive answers and that arose more questions in her mind.
But yesterday night her mother came into her bedroom and said she wanted to have a talk. Nitara placed her bookmark in the book,closed it and sat on bed.
Her mother said, “I’ve been avoiding some things but you are not a child anymore.” She lovably patted Nitara’s hair, realizing that her daughter has bloomed into a grown up. Tears roll down her cheeks. “What’s wrong, Maa!”, Nitara’s voice shook. “There’s a reason your Shailesh uncle doesn’t visit anymore. I’ve asked him not to. I wouldn’t have told you ever but you ought to know the truth because I don’t want to lie to you. He says he loves me and wants to marry me.” Her voice broke. She continued,”But this is wrong. I loved your father a lot. He was my world but destiny snatched him from us and you became my only world. Shailesh has been my support, my best friend all along. But I can’t do this. I asked him to break all contacts. He is following that. “
Nitara was dumbstruck. She clearly didn’t have any idea and now she was at loss of words. Her mother was sitting in front of her, telling her that her best friend proposed her and she rejected him because it was wrong morally. Both of them sat in silence. Her mother gave gentle good night kiss on her forehead and was at the door, when Nitara asked, “Maa, do you love him?” Her mother went weak in the knees. She turned with heavy heart and said, “Nitara, I’ve raised you with difficulties. Being single parent in our society has its challenges. But you are my precious and you have been my strength. I can’t put you through any pain. And I love you more than anyone.” She went. Her answer had reached in Nitara’s heart painfully. She engrossed in the puzzled situation whole night and next morning came for a walk in the park.
She came to her senses by honk of little boy’s cycle. She said sorry and moved aside. Her mind had exhausted due to emotional journey through all problems, conflicts her mother was going through. At first, she thought of her own friends, will they mock me, but it made her feel guilty to think like that. Then she thought of her relatives, society. But then she just concentrated on her mother. She wanted her mother to have that partner to relish the moment that old couple was enjoying. She wanted her to have someone to love her, care for her, be with her, soothe her and she knew Shailesh uncle will be the best for her. She had always seen her as a mother but now she was looking at a woman who had raised a daughter strongly. She was the woman, who had loved her unconditionally. She wanted that woman, who was excellent mother, to be able to find her happiness.
She went home with all answers. She found her mother sitting near window, sunk in thoughts. She came near her, took her hand gently. Her mother flinched at the sudden touch and felt warmth of her daughter. Nitara said, “Maa, you are my world. You have worked very hard and raised me to be a strong, independent woman. You are my inspiration and role model. I know you love Shailesh uncle.” She suppressed the protest her mother was going to start by pressing her hands lightly and continuing,”If I can’t understand the pain behind your plastered smile, the sadness rooted in your heart then what kind of daughter am I! You deserve to love and to be loved. I don’t care what people say. I only know that Maa will be at happy place. I support you and I am always with you. You deserve to be happy Maa, you deserve… ” and they both broke down in each of others’ arms and soaked in the pool of tears….
After lot of discussions, Nitara convinced her mother to follow her heart and
“Shailesh weds Meera” card gave euphoric pleasure to Nitara. They tied the knot and Nitara hugged her mother tightly….
Mother-daughter had a role reversal unknowingly……
Author’s note :
Meaning of Nitara : Having deep roots